Friday, January 30, 2009

Daisy Hat Cake

This is a carrot cake covered in butter-cream icing then covered with rolled marsh-mellow fondant which I made myself. The flowers, leaves and drapes are made with gum paste, also my recipe. The fondant and gum paste flowers will harden (though they are edible) quickly and last forever. Everything was sprinkled with edible sparkles. This was a fun and relatively easy cake to decorate. My big problem is organization. The flowers were made the day before. The base or hat brim is a cake board covered with fondant with a swirl pattern rolled over it. This cake is going to Mom for her to serve at her Sewing Circle Club meeting on Monday. Hope the ladies like it. My next decorating class will be one on making gum paste flowers. I look forward to creating some pretty flowers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Four Generations

Not often that we can say that we have four generations....still going strong.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

84 years young today

We are so lucky to have such a great Mom. She has always been there for us and still is. At 84 she walks two miles every morning, drives to her favorite store, Walmart, almost daily, belongs to a sewing club (The Sewing Circle) and is always doing a sewing or craft project. Right now it's a hand-made quilt. She made me a beautiful king size quilt for Christmas which she worked on for several months. She also makes beautiful beaded jewelry to match most of her outfits. The sewing club is meeting at her home on Monday where she will feed the group and visit with her friends. This group of gals have been meeting for over 60 years now. We took her to dinner tonight for her birthday where she had a good feed and even took some home for lunch tomorrow. I only hope that I am as beautiful and healthy at 84 as she is. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM....We Love You!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Big 60!!

John gave me a very nice Sony Digital SLR camera with two lenses. One is a 300 zoom. Wow! He done good!!! Love the roses he gave me too. Beautiful color. We went to dinner at Kobe Steakhouse with some good friends and had a great meal. It's always fun to get together with those guys.
Had my first drink in a year. Guess once a year can't hurt. The pasta and rice in our meal definitely hurt my no carb diet. OK girls, back on the wagon for me.

Jo Dee is down from Alabama for a bass tournament in Tavares. Like the wrap on her SUV? She's pre-fishing for two days then the tournament starts Thursday through Saturday. Wish her luck. She was one of only two women invited compete in this tournament. Wouldn't it be cool if she won beating out all the guys. Boy wouldn't that make her sponsors happy. Check her out at GOOD LUCK JO DEE!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Misty Morning

Walked out this morning to see clouds of mist flowing across the lake. It was kind of spooky to see the ducks and geese gliding through the mist. Occasionally the fog is so thick that you can't see the tree line across the lake. Digital cameras, aren't they wonderful. Instant gratification.

Sunset on our lake...

We are fortunate to live on the east end of Big Lake Mary. We get to see some of the most beautiful sunsets. It's nice to sit out on the dock (the one in this picture belongs to the neighbor), do a little fishing and enjoy the sunsets. Thought the picture of our patio was cool with the sunset reflecting in the windows.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Triple bloom

A triple coming from one bloom sheath. This doesn't happen often.

Nine open and at least nine more to go. Can't believe how this plant is busting out with Orchid blooms this time of year. Seems like a new one opens every day. I'm tempted to cut them off, but they last longer on the plant. Boy was it cold last night and it's supposed to be colder the 20s. John and I spent the afternoon covering some of the more tender plants and putting the potted ones in the green house. It's packed with plants right now, but the little space heater is keeping them cozy warm at night. Looks like we'll be covering even more plants this afternoon. Brrrrr!!!!
Icee has been outside laying in the sun. Can't believe how she and Chili like being outside even in this cold weather. I've noticed that there are lots of birds feeding at the birds feeders. No doubt getting ready for the colder night tonight. LaLa is happy to stay in the house helping me. I fixed a big pot of chili last night and had our neighbors, Cindy and Marion, over for dinner. Nice hot food for a cold evening. Mmmm Mmmm good!! I'm getting ready to go out for lunch with my friend, Sue. Soup and salad at Olive Garden then off with my friend, Brenda, to visit our friend T in Lake Helen. Then back home to cover plants and out to dinner at Colorado's Steakhouse with family and friends. Busy day today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sandhill Cranes, Laura Koncel...

Brrr it's cold out!!! The Sandhill Cranes are playing along the beach this morning in the blowing wind. The lake has white caps all over cause the wind must be blowing at 20-30 mph today. And boy is it cold out there. The temp is in the 40s, but due to the wind feels to be in the 30s.
Check out the foam on the beach from the blowing wind. Reminds me of the windy days at New Smyrna Beach. The ducks and geese are hanging out on the beach. Guess the wind is blowing them off the water. HaHa. The temps are supposed to drop to freezing tonight so I need to cover some plants. Sure hope this wind lets up so the covers stay on. Thank goodness for clothes pins.

Our friend..Laura Koncel....
Monday was a sad day. We lost our good friend, Laura Koncel of Lake Helen, FL. She was only 58 years young. She was the breeder of our Papillons, Icee, Chili and LaLa, as well as many other wonderful Papillons that she has bred and shown. Laura was a super lady with a kind heart and a gentle nature. She loved all her Papillons and when she could bring herself to part with one was very careful to find a loving home in which to place her precious pup. She often told me that she was so fortunate to have gotten such great homes for her dogs and had made some good friends in the process. John and I are proud to have been included in that group. She will be missed by many, especially all of her Papillon friends. God bless you Laura. It was an honor to have had you in our lives. We love and miss you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blooming Vandas

My Orchid plants are blooming again. Guess the Bloom Buster really works. This is two Vanda Orchid plants I have hanging on the patio. The purple one has two bloom stalks on it and the pink one has only one, but boy is it loaded with blooms. Vanda blooms last for several weeks. That's why I love orchids.

Can't beat a beautiful purple Vanda. This one I bought at an Orchid show two years ago and it hasn't disappointed me yet. It blooms several times a year.

This pink one also came from another Orchid show and has been a profuse bloomer too. It's hard to beat a nice Vanda Orchid. If you feed and water it right it will reward you with blooms for years to come. My friend, Lou, says that he pots several together so he has a multi-colored display when they bloom. I might have to give that a try.

This is a bloom from my Cattleya Orchid plant. I've counted 19 bloom buds on it so far. Five have opened with four more just about to pop and the others are in different stages of development. This is an old plant and it is at least three feet across. Right now it's on my patio until the weather warms up. I wish you could see all the buds...I'm amazed. It has never bloomed this profusely before. This plant was given to me by John's mother almost eight years ago and she must have had it hanging under a tree for five years before that. I should probably re-pot it and divide it into several plants, but I'm sure that a specimen plant like this is very valuable. As long as it is healthy and I can move it around (it weighs around 20 lbs now) I'll let it be.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eagle in training

(click on pictures to enlarge)

I looked out at the lake this morning to see two eagles diving down towards the ducks and geese. It appears that the mature eagle is showing the young eagle how to hunt. The mature eagle would dive down as if to grab a goose then the young eagle would attempt it. At one point the mature eagle tried to grab a goose, but the goose dove under water to avoid capture. As I moved closer they retreated into the trees and called back and forth to each other. Boy, that was nature at it's finest. Then when I turned to return to the house I noticed a beautiful cardinal sitting on the bird feeder. As I sat and watched I saw many different birds having breakfast...Cardinal, Finches, Woodpeckers, Blue Jays and Dove. What a rainbow of color at the feeders today.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Icee the hunter dog?

Icee the hunter dog. Actually John just got back from Snipe hunting and gave Icee a wing when he was cleaning the birds. She walked around for the longest time with this wing in her mouth. She didn't want to come in for dinner cause she just knew someone would get her wing so I had to feed her at the back door. I just peeked out to check on her and she is lying in the grass with her chin resting on the wing. I don't think she knows just what to do with it, but she sure isn't going to share it with LaLa or Chili. Sooner or later I guess I'll have to take it from her. Yuk!!!

Granddaughters, Kierstin and Haley

Our granddaughter, Kierstin, has been a cheerleader for the past three years. Her team goes to competitions and is ranked third in the nation for 2008. This photo was snapped at one of her competitions in Orlando. She's one of the taller girls so she is a base and a tumbler too. When we can we go to her games to watch her team cheer. It's amazing the improvement she has made in the past three years. Kierstin, though almost as tall as her mom, is Sherry's girly girl. She enjoys shopping, fashion, having her nails done and talking with her girlfriends. She's an A student which we hope she continues through school. Of course, we love her and think she's a sweet, beautiful young lady.

Our other granddaughter, Haley, is the soccer star. She goes all over the state to various competitions and right now her team is ranked second in their league for 2008. She really enjoys the game and gets into the competitions. Though not as tall as her twin sister, Kierstin, she can hold her own in any sport she tries. Right now she is having fun having lessons on a leased horse. She's definately been bitten by the horse bug, just liker her mom and grandma. If that's her passion we hope she keeps up with the lessons and becomes the best horsewoman she can be. She is in the gifted program at school which is a challenge she needs. She has her daddy's sense of humor and loves to kid around. Though not a girly girl she does like clothes shopping and doing her nails. Her cute smile and sweet nature will bring her many rewards in life.
Those girls are just growing up to fast. Where has the time gone. Seems just like yesterday that I was babysitting and changing diapers.

Doggy Door, Papillon Friends, Reno

John put in a doggy door on the patio and the dogs love it. This is LaLa looking through the door thinking about coming in then she makes up her mind and hops through.

At first they weren't sure if they liked it and sat outside the door waiting for us to open it. When we didn't they said OK and came on through. Now they love using it.

They have friends visiting this weekend, Mona and Leo who also learned to use the door. Mona and Leo visit a lot and our girls enjoy having them around. Mona and Leo just love our big back yard and spend most of the day running back and forth chasing anything that moves.

Leo loves going outside and laying in the sun or chasing the squirrels. Here he is just keeping a watch out for the invaders. He is a beautiful tri-colored Papillon and is a half brother to our Icee and LaLa having the same daddy.

Mona, also a tri, stands under the tree barking at the squirrels. She thinks she so bad. It's kinda funny to watch her bark. She throws her head back with each bark. Both Mona and Leo are small Papillon at only around 4.5 pounds each.

Icee enjoys having the company help her with squirrel duty. She's just happy to have someone help her with her bug and squirrel hunting. It's so funny to watch her bounce through the boarder grass looking for bugs.
However, LaLa, (The Princess) would rather relax on the couch chewing her bull winkie chewy, making certain that NO ONE gets it. Not that she doesn't share her stuff....RIGHT!!

This is Reno, my daughter's little Min Pin. He loves to go swimming in the lake when he comes to visit and will stay in the water retrieving a ball or chasing bubbles or minnows for hours. This little guy has so much energy that he just bounces through the yard until he gets to the lake and continues to bounce through the water. He is just too funny. We say that he spends as much time on his hind legs as he does on all fours. He's a cute little guy with a great personality who loves everyone he meets. He's a great representative of the breed and a real little lover.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oval Basketweave Cake

This is an oval cake with butter cream icing. The flowers are made with royal icing and the little blue birds (yes, they are supposed to be birds) are made with color flow icing. This was my first attempt at a basket weave and using the color flow icing. I did have fun making the flowers. The basket weave was hard for me. I found out later that my icing was too stiff. I'll definately know next time to thin the icing before attempting the basket weave. This cake was done in course two. The two tiered one was done in course three.
This Poinsettia cake was a chocolate cake with butter cream icing covered with white fondant. The flowers were made with royal icing and the bow was done with green fondant. I added some edible sparkles. This one went with John to work.
Valentines Day is coming up so I'm thinking about what kind of cake I want to do next. Something using my heart shaped pans for sure.

This is a little 6 inch heart cake was made with extra batter from the hat cake. I decorated it last night using my Marshmellow fondant. John took it to work with him this morning. He put it in the x-ray department and when he went back to try a piece it was gone. So I guess everyone liked it.
The Wilton cake decorating courses are not all that expensive, but getting all the supplies can sure put a dent in the wallet. I try to use all the 40 and 50% off coupons I can get my hands on. I cut them out of the newspaper and they e-mail coupons to me which all help cut my expenses. So far I've gotten most of my supplies that way. I recently learned how to make Marshmellow Fondant which is much cheaper and tastes a lot better that the store bought fondant which runs around $20 for a 5 pound box of ready-to-use. Like I said those coupons come in handy.

Pink Hat Cake

This is a small 6" spice cake and my first attempt at doing a fondant drape and cake board covering. Hope it's yummy.

Tiered Cake

This is obviously the tiered cake. My daughter took it to work to share with her co-workers.

Cake Decorating Classes

I've started taking the Wilton cake decorating classes at the local JoAnn's Fabrics store. I've taken Courses I, II and III, and now I'm taking the course called Decorating With Fondant and Gum Paste. Fondant is an icing which becomes more hardened than the standard butter cream icing. Adding gum paste to fondant and it becomes very hard. The flowers or other decorations made with this mixture seem to last forever. I really enjoy decorating the cakes. My favorite so far is the two tiered cake frosted with butter cream icing and decorated with fondant roses. That one was a little tricky. This last one was a six inch cake covered with fondant and decorated with a fondant drape and flowers. I'm enjoying learning to make some really beautiful flowers with the fondant. The royal icing is fun to work with using the decorating bags with tips. Royal icing is great for making flowers or anyting you want to set up and last a while. I would recommend the Wilton cake decorating classes for anyone who enjoys being creative. So far I've given away all the cakes I've made. Hopefully I'll get good enough to sell some cakes and maybe make a little extra cash.